acne ingredient q&a science vegan skincare

Q&A: Plant Oils and Oily Skin

Q: If I have oily skin, are plant-oils suitable to use as a moisturiser or within other products?

A: An oily skin type is one where sebum production is “excessive” , with telltale signs of shine on the face forming a few hours after cleansing, accompanied with acne and/or larger pores.

A moisturiser has, noted in the 2014 article in The Journal for Clinical and Aesthetic Medicine Moisturisers for Acne: What Are Their Constituents? “3 three main properties, which are occlusive, humectant, and emollient effects.”

Occlusive ingredients like mineral oil in moisturisers will halt transepidermal water loss, while emollient ingredients include several non-fragrant (our recommended form if you are interested in experimenting with them in your routine) plant oils like castor oil. Emollients work by “which smooths skin by filling space between skin flakes with a droplet of oil.”

These emollient oils (including the “wonder boy” coconut oil) should be kept at a minimum if you find your oily skin is accompanied by acne.

Oilier skin types may not enjoy the sensation of oil based products or oil directly applied to their skin – they are likely to increase shine and cause product on your face to slip if you wear sunscreen or makeup during the day.

If you do find a plant oil is comfortable on your skin, it is important to note that not all oils are not made equal, and there are several highly fragrant plant oils which will irritate skin and cause inflammation (more on this to come in an upcoming article).

There is a wide misconception that your skin requires more moisture to rebalance oily skin and reduce sebum production, but this is not the case. Unless you have noticed a severe increase in sebum production (which may be due to hormonal changes as noted in Oily Skin: A Review of Options), there is little reason to be alarmed – this is your skin’s natural way of staying protected and balanced.

Oil will not serve you beyond any other well-formulated, fragrance free moisturiser. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin both draw moisture to the skin without the structure and problematic nature of oil for oily skin, and are other worthwhile options if you find oil doesn’t sit well on or with your skin.

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